Fate of Brexit Deal Foggy As Tempers Flare, Tensions Rise in UK – Politicians
Parliament Takes Back Control of Brexit
The UK lawmakers will vote on the deal on Tuesday, so Prime Minister Theresa May has only a few days left to sway the doubters or convert the staunch opposition.
The start to the debates, a week before the fateful vote, was far from auspicious: the parliament voted to have more influence on what happens next if the Commons votes down the deal on Tuesday.
In another upset to the government, the lawmakers voted to find the government, for the first time in UK history, in contempt of the parliament over its refusal to publish full legal advice on Brexit. Before that, the lawmakers rejected the government’s compromise referring the dispute on the legal advice to a parliamentary committee.
The legal advice of the attorney general on the backstop solution for the Irish border, published Wednesday, appeared to confirm some of the concerns voiced around the deal.
Legal Advice on Irish Border
The solution proposed in the current deal would keep the United Kingdom in a customs arrangement with the European Union to avoid a hard border between Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland. At the same time, Northern Ireland would remain subject to some of the EU single market rules, unless another solution was found by the end of the transition period in December 2020.
The backstop is only supposed to take effect if no better agreement to avoid hard Irish border has been reached.
Attorney General Geoffrey Cox has warned that the United Kingdom might find itself in “protracted and repeated rounds of negotiations” if the backstop was applied.
Nigel Dodds, the deputy leader of the Democratic Unionist Party (DUP), which is backing May’s Conservative Party in the parliament, has described the legal advice as “devastating.” The DUP was unhappy with the deal to begin with, which does not bode well for the upcoming vote. DUP support could be crucial for May, whose party is short of an absolute majority in a 650-seat House of Commons. Without the 10 DUP lawmakers, 315 Conservatives could be left hanging by a thread.
Farage Leaves UKIP
While the UK government was fighting for its deal, the UK Independence Party (UKIP) that played an important role in the run-up to the 2016 Brexit referendum said goodbye to one of its most prominent leaders, Nigel Farage.